The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Ed El­liot

MICHAEL AP­PLE­TON be­lieves it will take an out­stand­ing dis­play from an op­po­nent to de­feat his pro­mo­tion-chas­ing Ox­ford side af­ter watch­ing them dis­man­tle Bar­net with a su­perb se­cond-half show­ing.

Cal­lum O’Dowda’s dou­ble and a late strike from sub­sti­tute Danny Hyl­ton earned all three points at The Hive to move the se­cond-placed Us six points clear of third spot.

Ap­ple­ton said: “We’ve got eight games to go, there are still 24 points to play for, so that’s ei­ther 24 points to win or lose. “We want to win as many as pos­si­ble. “There’s a fo­cus about the play­ers and I think ev­ery­one can see that now.

“If we’re go­ing to get beaten, it’s go­ing to take one hell of a per­for­mance or a cer­tain team ef­fort from the op­po­si­tion.

“We knew that we would have to de­fend well as a team here, es­pe­cially set-plays, and they did that man­fully.

“We gen­uinely be­lieved that if we were in the game af­ter an hour we would be able to take the game away from them.”

The con­test was open and end-to-end from the start and Bees goal­keeper Jamie Stephens had to be alert to deny O’Dowda early on be­fore Us keeper Ben­jamin Buchel touched Cur­tis We­ston’s close-range header past the right post at the other end.

Ox­ford’s Liam Ser­combe should have opened the scor­ing just be­fore the half-hour mark but, af­ter be­ing teed up by Ke­mar Roofe, the mid­fielder shot straight at the legs of Stephens.

How­ever, O’Dowda opened the scor­ing eight min­utes into the se­cond half, slot­ting in from a tight an­gle on the left of Bar­net’s six-yard box af­ter his low cross was sliced back to him by Bees de­fender Michael Nelson.

The elec­tric winger then grabbed his se­cond, run­ning half the length of the pitch and find­ing the bot­tom-right cor­ner at the se­cond at­tempt af­ter Stephens blocked his ini­tial shot.

Sub­si­tute Hyl­ton capped a fine day for the Us and the 1,568 trav­el­ling fans when he smashed home John Lund­stram’s pass a minute from time.

But de­spite the heavy de­feat, Martin Allen felt Bar­net mer­ited more for their first-half dis­play, and is now con­sid­er­ing field­ing some of the club’s youth play­ers with lit­tle left to play for this sea­son.

“We had a cou­ple of good chances, their ‘keeper made a cou­ple of good saves and I thought we re­ally, re­ally played well,” Allen said.

“The se­cond half, they came out, they ex­pressed them­selves, they got back into the game and it was just dis­ap­point­ing to con­cede that goal so soon af­ter half time.

“We didn’t get the goal that I thought we de­served in the first half and then we paid the price for that in the se­cond half.

“We can’t go up and we can’t go down now ei­ther. I’ll have a good think now over the next few days about what we’re go­ing to do for next week­end with re­gard to which play­ers can be play­ing and, maybe for some of our young lads, what de­buts we can give out.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age



Ox­ford THREE AND EASY: Danny Hyl­ton cel­e­brates round­ing off the win

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